First, the nitty-gritty: Sidney Ponson throws six innings, gives up three runs on five hits, a walk and a strike out. That’s a win and a quality start. Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi pick up six hits and five RBIs. Mariano Rivera gets a save and makes his first September appearance. The Yanks win and are still, barely, alive.
That’s all well and good. But let’s look a little bit closer at this one. Sidney Ponson threw six innings today and picked up a win. Every time that happens, I feel like I should sacrifice something to the Baseball Gods. In reality, Ponson was on the shortest leash you’ll ever see. Girardi yanked him after a whopping 66 pitches.
This will, of course, give the Yankees another excuse to start Ponson in five days. It will give them another excuse, when they’ve been just about eliminated from postseason contention, to give some washed-up never-was more innings when they could be tossing some of the kids. And it will give me another reason not to watch the game in a few days.
At this point, it’s a small complaint. Ponson won’t be with the team next year, and the Yanks are playing out the season. Tonight’s game definitely had that air of inevitability about it. It’s on the schedule; it has to be played; some team is going to win; and someone has to pitch. Tonight, the cards fell for the Yankees.
If it’s any consolation, this afternoon’s game will have some meaning as Mike Mussina goes for win 18. Meanwhile, I’m just hoping Joba and his rotator cuff are okay. His stuff isn’t quite there yet, and his line sure shows that. The Yanks have a weeks to make sure he’s healthy; they ought to be using him for more than an inning at a time every three days. That seems like small beans though right now, but small beans are all we have left.